Formed in December of 2010, Death Grips was an Alternative Hip Hop group that consisted of rapper Stefan Burnett (a.k.a. MC Ride), drummer Zach Hill (of the band Hella), and producer Andy Morin (a.k.a. Flatlander). Their music was a unique and hyper-aggressive blend of noise, samples, noise and industrial, loudvocals, noise, and subverting and deconstructing almost every Hip Hop trope under the sun, while their live shows are infamous for their sheer, nightmarish ferocity. On October 1st 2012, the band revealed that their next release had been pushed back by their record label. In response, the band released NO LOVE DEEP WEB for free. They released their most recent album, Government Plates, in a similar fashion. The band announced that they were breaking up in July 2014 via their Facebook page.Their discography is as follows:
Death Grips (EP), 2011
Exmilitary (mixtape), 2011
The Money Store, 2012
NO LOVE DEEP WEB, expected to be released in 2013, leaked by the band on October 1st, 2012
Government Plates, 2013
The Powers That B, a double album expected to be released in the latter part of 2014
Niggas on the Moon, the first disc, released in June of 2014
Jenny Death, the second disc, as of yet unreleased
Government Plates appears to avert this though, as it is the first official release by them to not have thirteen tracks on it. Until you realize it was released 13 months, 13 days, and 13 hours after NO LOVE DEEP WEB.
So far it looks like Niggas On the Moon is a complete aversion, but with the album's second half still to come it's fully possible it will be rounded out.
All Drummers Are Animals: Zach Hill's playing has been known to break lug casings and bend the top hoop of his drums. He's fractured his own hand in a rehearsal once.
Rehearsal footage used in the video for "No Love" shows him headbutting his crash cymbal.
Follow the Leader: They've already started what is essentially a new genre, or at least a new concept of combining noise and harsh noise with hip hop.
Lo and behold, people were quick to draw similarities to Death Grips in Kanye West's album Yeezus
Genre-Busting: Good luck finding anything remotely similar... Yet....
B L A C K I E, dälek and clipping. take similarly extreme and experimental approaches to hip-hop, but none sound quite the same—or quite like each other.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: The music video for "Culture Shock" is a tiny distorted videoscreen superimposed over a headstone, looping repeatedly. It's hard to see, but the footage on the screen is from a pornographic sex scene.
Fortunately though, an unmastered version of The Money Store exists on the web and isn't hard to come by, and it avoids the brickwalling of the released versions. All the stems of Exmilitary also exist on the web, so it shouldn't be hard for anyone with the right programs to make their own master that isn't so abrasively loud.
Mean Character, Nice Actor: MC Ride, in spite of his manic, frenzied onstage performances and ferocious vocal style, is exceptionally quiet, withdrawn, and soft-spoken in person.
Mind Screw: A lot of their music videos and promotional work are heavily reminiscent of totheark's strange diatribes.
At one point the ARG had somebody buying dog aspirin off the deep web.
As it turns out, none of them were. After the password was figured out for a .RAR containing what was thought to be a new EP (complete with a tracklist and everything),only for it to be Tim & Shim Do The Raps Out Of Their Mouths. The entire ARG was fake, and in the video they thanked Flatlander for "Subconsciously playing along." Wat. Huh.
Almost the entirety of Government Plates, which is even more experimental (believe it or not) than their previous releases. It also was released completely out of nowhere with absolutely zero promotion or prior announcement.
New Sound Album: While they still fall under the umbrella of industrial hip-hop, each of their albums is this compared to the previous one. Exmilitary was a lot more hook- and beat-driven than their debut. The Money Store was considerably more electronic and less sample-based than Exmilitary, and NO LOVE DEEP WEB eschews catchy hooks in general in exchange for a deeper focus on atmosphere. Government Plates took this to a new level, with a much larger emphasis on experimental electronic production and much less rapping from MC Ride. And then Ride returned in a big way for Niggas on the Moon, which in general features more frenetic production, cleaner, quieter, yet far more absurd verses from Ride, and samples from Björk on every track.
Sampling: From Nancy Sinatra to Black Flag to Link Wray to Arthur Brown's "Fire" to voice clips of Charles Manson. "System Blower" even sampled its distinctive bridge from a Venus Williams tennis serve, and the bass from "Hustle Bones" is a motorcycle engine, pitched down and otherwise modulated.
Sensory Abuse: Sometimes, mostly on Exmilitary, which is probably the loudest of their releases. The odd, screechy synth section towards the end of "Guillotine" stands out. Most of their videos have intentional glitches and spaced-out effects, such as visual static.
Shout-Out: The song title "You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it's your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat" is of course a Bob Dylan lyric.
Three Chords and the Truth: NO LOVE DEEP WEB is kind of like their version of this. The majority of the sounds are produced from basic synthesizers and 808 drums, and the only sample is on "Whammy". Hill's live drums are nowhere to be found.
Trope Codifier: Industrial Rap. While groups like The Disposible Heroes of Hiphoprisy had been combining industrial elements with rap and hip-hop since as far back as the late 1980s, Death Grips' sound has come to define the style since their inception.
True Art Is Incomprehensible: In their farewell note, a portion of it read: "Death Grips was and always has been a conceptual art exhibition anchored by sound and vision. above and beyond a "band"."
Uncommon Time: "Death Grips (Next Grips)" and "Spread Eagle Across The Block".
"Hunger Games" is a subversion. It's in 4/4 time, but the rhythm is... uh.... batshit insane...
Death Grips don't generally use a lot of strange time signatures, but they do use extensive syncopation and other strange musical features.
The main riff of 'Come up and get me' gets insanely syncopated around the middle before abruptly coming back at the end.
'Full Moon (Death Classic)' is crazily offbeat, having some parts where Ride ignores the rhythm entirely (i.e. the 'buck buck buck buck' bit).
The first verse and last hook of 'You might think he loves you for your money but I know what he really loves you for it's your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat' both seem to kind of ignore the rhythm behind them. (Additionally, it's in 6/8.)
The notes that the guitar plays in the verses and choruses in 'Birds' are of incredibly uneven and unnatural lengths. Same with the synths in the second section of 'Bootleg (Don't Need Your Help)'.
Ride's sampled vocals on 'Whatever I Want (Fuck Who's Watching)' are weirdly syncopated.
'Anne Bonny', 'Two Heavens', 'Feels Like A Wheel', 'Big House', and 'Bootleg (Don't Need Your Help)' all include abrupt tempo changes at some point in their duration.
Vulgar Humor: The leaked version of NO LOVE DEEP WEB features cover art that is nothing more than a photograph of a penis. An alternate cover, released a few days later, is a picture of socks with "SUCK MY DICK" embroided on.